Warren, Klobuchar Get Dual New York Times Nod: Campaign Update

Wendy Benjaminson

(Bloomberg) -- The New York Times endorsed both Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar for the Democratic presidential nomination, saying, “May the best woman win.”

The newspaper revealed its pick on its television show, “The Weekly” and ran video clips of the interviews that Warren, Klobuchar, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Yang and Cory Booker gave to the paper’s editorial board. Booker dropped out of the race since his New York Times interview.

Editorial board members said they were impressed by Warren’s emphasis on policy and said Klobuchar “could unite the party and perhaps the nation.”

Warren has 14% support from Democratic voters in the RealClearPolitics polling average, while Klobuchar has lagged at 3%.

Warren Says Senators to Get Say in Judge Picks (6:14 p.m.)

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren criticized Congressional Republicans for ignoring the tradition that allows senators to approve or veto a judge from their home state, saying that if elected president she wouldn’t allow them to play “dirty” to block her nominees.

“I’m not going to be the Democrat who says, ‘oh, when Democrats are in the White House we’ll all play by the nice rules,’ and when Republicans are in the White House we all play by the dirty rules. I’m not playing that game again.” Warren said at a Citizens United Forum in Des Moines, Iowa, on Sunday.

The “blue slip” tradition gets its name from the color of a document that senators would sign in order to approve judicial nominees from the state they represent. Traditionally, if a senator withheld a blue slip, it would mean he or she was rejecting the selection of a judge and by doing so ending their hopes of being a nominee.

Warren accused Republicans of abusing the tradition during the Obama administration, and ignoring it under Trump, so that Democrats who might object to a judicial nominee from their home state don’t get heard. While Warren didn’t explicitly say how she would handle the issue if elected president, she hinted that she would be willing to honor them.

“But I will give them the chance to, at least, join us in having a government that works again and a judicial appointment process that works again,” Warren said. “We can’t work to make our judiciary more politicized. That cannot be the right answer.”

Biden is Fund-Raising off Sanders’ Attacks (5:01 p.m.)

Joe Biden’s campaign is accusing Bernie Sanders of engaging in “smears” against the former vice president as it tries to drum up campaign cash.

In a fund-raising email Sunday signed by Biden, the candidate expresses alarm about Democrats attacking each other and dismisses efforts by the Sanders campaign to mischaracterize comments he made about spending negotiations with former Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan.

“As Democrats I thought we all knew this election was too important to attack other Democrats,” Biden says in the message. “But Bernie Sanders and his campaign don’t care about that. They’ve decided to unleash a barrage of negative attacks lying about and distorting my record.”

He specifically calls out Sanders’ staff and allies’ propagation on social media of “a deceptively edited video and saying I agreed with Paul Ryan about wanting to cut Social Security.” The clip omits context from which it’s clear that Biden was mocking the former House speaker’s views.

Sanders and his team have ramped up attacks on Biden’s record on Social Security — which does include votes and statements that suggested cuts as part of bigger deals — as they seek to pull older voters away from Biden. The former vice president has pledged during this campaign to increase spending on Social Security. -- Jennifer Epstein

Sanders Says Gender Still An Issue in 2020 (3:30 p.m.)

Bernie Sanders again denied telling Elizabeth Warren that a woman can’t be elected president, but said he believes gender is among a range of issues that can affect a candidate’s level of acceptance among some voters.

“It is hard for me to imagine how anybody in the year 2020 would not believe that a woman could become the president of the United States,” Sanders said Sunday on New Hampshire Public Radio after saying he didn’t want to get into “a private conversation” from 2018.

Sanders said that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won the popular vote against Donald Trump in 2016, and said “the media has blown” up his alleged comments to Warren in a private conversation about their political ambitions. He has denied saying a woman couldn’t be elected in 2020, but Warren has insisted he did.

The Vermont senator said that a generation ago, most people would have said it was doubtful an African American could be elected president, as Barack Obama was in 2008 and 2012. “The world has changed,” he said.

“There ain’t no perfect candidate out there,” Sanders said. “Everybody brings some negatives.” For example, both his own advanced age and Pete Buttigieg’s young age could play into some voters’ calculations, he said.

“There are a lot of people who say I like Bernie, he’s a nice guy, but he’s 78 years of age,” he said. “If you’re looking at Buttigieg, he’s a young guy. People will say he’s too young to be president.” -- Emma Kinery

COMING UP:

Top-tier Democratic presidential candidates will be in Columbia, South Carolina, on Monday for events to mark the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday

The candidates will debate again in New Hampshire on Feb. 7.

The first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses will be held Feb. 3. The New Hampshire primary is Feb. 11. Nevada holds its caucuses on Feb. 22 and South Carolina has a primary on Feb. 29.

(Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. He is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)

(An earlier version corrected a reference to Sanders’ comments.)

--With assistance from Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou, Emma Kinery and Jennifer Epstein.

To contact the reporter on this story: Wendy Benjaminson in Washington at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Derek Wallbank

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